Mindfulness in New Zealand schools: Pause, Breathe, Smile

Many children today are stressed and anxious. We recognise that to learn well in school, children need to pay attention and be able to focus. 

Kate Hurst is contracted by the Mindfulness Education Group to teach mindfulness to children through an eight-week Pause, Breathe, Smile programme. This helps them focus on one thing at a time while supporting social and emotional wellbeing. 

Supporting children to practise mindfulness helps them to settle unhelpful thoughts and feelings and increases focus. It shows benefits like letting go of worry, anxiety and doubt, which has the potential to reduce mental health problems. Mindfulness also helps children develop kindness and curiosity, and improves their ability to learn. 

When I’m upset, I let myself feel sad, and then I can feel happy again.

- Pause, Breathe, Smile student, aged 7
Sometimes, my brain is like a snow globe, it’s stormy and I can’t see anything properly. Now I know how to let it settle down, so I can see the different snowflakes, and understand what’s happening in my mind. Pause, Breathe, Smile student, aged 10
Breathing mindfully helps me calm down a lot if I’m stressed. Pause, Breathe, Smile student, aged 10